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Omnichannel-Based Retail Strategies Create Cohesive Customer Experiences

Omnichannel-Based Retail Strategies Create Cohesive Customer Experiences
Jeremy Osborne, Strategic Account Manager at Infobip SADC.

Jeremy Osborne, Strategic Account Manager at Infobip SADC, says consumer behaviour is comfortably and continuously adapting in response to factors such as fluctuating income, time availability, social distancing restrictions and overall decrease in availability of in-person service provision. All this has irrevocably affected the time people spend online and how they engage with brands.

As consumer behaviour continues to change due to the impact the global Covid-19 pandemic has had both on business and individuals – retailers are increasingly having to position themselves to provide omnichannel services that can meet these evolving digital consumer expectations.

Retailers – almost by default – are having to embrace omnichannel services such as contactless payment, social commerce and virtual consultations by adding channels that help facilitate these activities.

A recent report by Accenture, titled New Era in Customer Engagement, reveals that 71% of consumers surveyed reported spending more time online during the Covid-19 crisis, with 76% expecting this behaviour to continue post-pandemic.

It is thus evident that a digital retail strategy has become the default, and the emergence of the new digital customer profile is fast becoming the mainstay for customer attraction and retention. However, these profiles will require ongoing analysis to maintain the right mix of customer sales and services channels for individual consumers.

Shift in customer interaction

In recent times, we’ve seen a huge shift in customer interaction volumes and the types of transactions over these engagement channels. Concurrently, the timeline for developing deeper relationships with consumers is significantly compressed and demonstrating empathy through digital channels has become the standard during difficult times.

Essentially, the Customer Experience (CX) has evolved into a partnership, with consumers no longer simply purchasing products and walking away. They now expect brands to listen to what they want, anticipate their needs in some instances and they expect to buy ‘an experience’ from every brand they engage with. However, while delivering a great experience will indeed get you a long way, consumers also expect more purposeful interactions with retailers.

Like never before, consumers can evaluate the CX, meaning that businesses have to rethink their operations, especially as most organisations are moving to digital platforms. The requirement to adapt to customer needs is therefore becoming truly essential.

Managing the customer journey and making sure that it responds to changes in customer dynamics, as well as ensuring that brand interaction becomes an experience, is key for organisations to successfully prepare for a digital future.

Dominance of personalisation

This is a clear trend that is emerging in the customer journey. Most consumers want to feel as though brands know them and what they want. Increasingly, personalisation tactics are being employed by retailers to stand out from their competitors and to tailor the experience around the customer.

As a result, we are seeing a rise in a multi-channel customer engagement approach, as consumers expect a fully connected experience and to be reached on the channels of their choice. Offering cheaper items or faster delivery times is no longer the main differentiator for retailers. A new wave of customer demand and expectation has emerged and organisations need to manage this. Automation is therefore becoming increasingly important.

As retailers continue to pivot towards online trading and lockdown restrictions are limiting the number of staff on the ground, we are seeing a growth in automation. Retailers are innovating with chatbots, digital shopping assistants and self-service technologies that are all taking centre stage to empower customers and reduce physical contact.

Omnichannel-based retail strategy

An omnichannel-based retail strategy is becoming central to delivering a cross-channel organisational approach to marketing, sales and customer service that creates an integrated and cohesive customer experience. This experience must be delivered – no matter how, when or where a customer reaches out to a brand.

Adopting an omnichannel strategy allows businesses to be available on every channel, underpinned by an engagement hub that provides for the easy addition of digital channels as needed.

At the same time, many organisations struggle to create a comprehensive strategy in order to generate and promote a meaningful personalisation that will result in a lasting relationship. Many retailers face challenges in relation to skills and costs yet have no choice but to respond to customer expectations or risk losing them.

These organisations need to look for partners in the digital transformation space that can offer an all-in-one solution, simplify deployment and reduce operating costs, while delivering a simple, secure and personalised engagement solution.

It is important that organisations realise that simply investing in CX technology does not guarantee success. A proper engagement and implementation strategy will ensure early and sustainable return on investment and the successful rollout of transformation initiatives. Digital transformation is a continuous process, and the right technology partner is central to getting it right.


Type Directors Club Introduces And Expands Global Type Design Competition Categories

TDC Introduces And Expands Competition Categories

TDC68 recognises how letterforms are used, honouring typographic excellence and innovation along with the art and craft of typography and design. 25TDC focuses on how letterforms are drawn, and celebrates new typeface designs in non-Latin letterforms. The competitions regularly receive entries from more than 60 countries.

The Type Directors Club (TDC), a typography organisation and part of The One Club for Creativity, has opened the call for entries and announced juries for its two premiere global awards programmes: TDC68 Communication Design and expanded 25TDC Typeface Design competitions.

To be eligible, work must have been produced or published in the 2021 calendar year. Early bird deadline for entry is October 29, 2021, with final deadline December 17, 2021. More details on both competitions can be found here.

This year’s awards competitions reflect TDC’s ongoing commitment to increase the level of diversity and representation in its juries, awards entries and general programming, as well as among TDC membership and on its Advisory Board.

Full juries for both competitions are as follows:

TDC68 Communications Design

Co-chair: Manija Emran, co-founder/creative director, Me and the Bootmaker, Los Angeles.
Co-chair: Joe Newton, partner, Anderson Newton Design, New York.

– Antonio Alcalá, owner, designer, Studio A, Alexandria (US).
– Philippe Apeloig, creative director, Apeloig, Paris.
– Anıl Aykan, editorial design, Barnbrook, London.
– Götz Grämlich, founder, dipl. designer, gggrafik design, Heidelberg (Germany).
– Eva Kellenberger, cofounder, Kellenberger-White, London.
– Hassan Rahim, owner, art director, 12:01 AM, New York.
– Mehdi Saeedi, graphic designer, visual artist, Mehdi Saeedi Studio, Philadelphia.
– Osmond Tshuma, co-founder, creative director, Mam’gobozi Design Factory, Johannesburg.
– Emma Thomas, cofounder, director, A Practice for Everyday Life, London.
– Kelly Walters, artist, designer, founder, Bright Polka Dot; educator, Parsons School of Design, New York.

Each of the script categories has three dedicated expert jury members, increasing the total number of 25TDC jurors from six to 14. This represents the typeface design competition’s largest awards jury expansion in its 25-year history, a reflection of TDC’s mission to recognise and support the diverse global type design community.

25TDC Typeface Design

Co-chair: Dr. Nadine Chahine, director, ArabicType; CEO, I Love Typography, London.
Co-chair: Ksenya Samarskaya, director, Samarskaya & Partners, Brooklyn.

Main category

– Kostas Bartsokas, type designer, typographer, Thessaloniki (Greece).
– Martin Majoor, founder, Martin Majoor, Arnhem (Netherlands)/Warsaw.
– Daria Petrova, type designer, Berlin.
– Ulrike Rausch, type designer, founder, LiebeFonts, Berlin.


– Khajag Apelian, lettering artist, type designer, graphic designer, Beirut/Yerevan.
– Borna Izadpanah, graphic and typeface designer, researcher, London.
– Mamoun Sakkal, founder, principal, Sakkal Design, Seattle.


– Kimya Gandhi, typeface designer, partner, Mota Italic, Berlin/Mumbai.
– Neelakash Kshetrimayum, creative director, Brandnewtype, Goa.
– Anagha Narayanan, independent type designer, Hyderabad (India).


– Minjoo Ham, type designer, typographer, graphic designer, Berlin.
– Lisa Huang, independent type designer, Paris.
– Kazuhiro Yamada, senior type designer, Monotype, Tokyo.

Also new this year, TDC68 Communications Design includes a new Design for Social Good category, in recognition of the important role that design plays in furthering social causes.

ITDC68 and 25TDC winners receive a Certificate of Typographic Excellence and digital tag certifying their work is among the world’s best of the year. Winning work will be featured in the highly respected TDC Annual, The World’s Best Typography® and showcased in eight exhibitions that travels to museums, schools and design organisations around the world. In the student categories, three students for TDC68 and one for 25TDC will win monetary awards.

This year’s call for entries is supported by a striking branding campaign designed by TDC member Tereza Bettinardi, based in São Paulo, which creatively explores the ‘counterspaces’ or inner parts of letters.

‘The design process started with one question: what if we expand the inner shapes of the letters to create new forms?’ she said. ‘As these small shapes expand and are used to create entirely new forms, at some point we end up also setting new rules to this infinite game.’

TDC is currently celebrating its 75th anniversary as a professional design organisation, and its second year as part of The One Club for Creativity.


RAMS Report Temporarily On Hold

RAMS Report Temporarily On Hold

The new Radio Audience Measurement Survey (RAMS) data release to the industry is temporarily on hold after an assessment process brought several factors and considerations to light.

‘The exercise was fortuitous in many ways and will ensure that we start as we mean to end,’ said BRC’s CEO, Gary Whitaker. ‘While the assessment report is being finalised, the BRC is intent on keeping the entire industry informed of developments as they happen.’

After the April to July 2021 (Quarter 2 plus one additional month) dataset was analysed with a sample size of just over 12,000 by 3M3A and Professor Ariane Neethling, it was concluded that although the weighted data at a total and overall provincial level are good, there are gaps in the results when looking at interlaced target markets at a provincial level. It goes without saying that in order to accurately measure radio stations the sample should be as well balanced as possible.

‘As this is the launch of the industry’s new radio currency, designed to support commercial trading, we need to ensure that every element supports the delivery of ongoing stable data,’ added Whitaker.

The next set of data Q2+2, April to August 2021, is now available for assessment by the team. This additional month will take the sample up to 15,000, assisting with filling in some of the gaps seen in the previous dataset. The other immediate recommendation includes investigation of a different calibration method to derive the weighted data while longer term improvements will be set in motion.

With the implementation of these recommendations, the BRC feels positive that the Q2+2 dataset will pass the stability and efficiency standards and result in a release. ‘We understand that the industry is eager to have the new RAMS data released, however, additional time is needed to deliver a stable currency by taking a long-term view and realising the larger vision for the study,’ concluded Whitaker.


Loeries Announces Creative Week Line-Up

Loeries Announces Creative Week Line-Up

The organisers for The Loeries have outlined a full programme for its Creative Week to be held in October.

Loeries Creative Week line-up in Cape Town 20th – 23rd October 2021

Cape Town plays host to the 2021 edition of Loeries Creative Week as the region’s creative minds come together to recognise the best work from across Africa and the Middle East. Join us at the southernmost tip of Africa for a week of celebration, comedy, remembrance, innovative insights and networking with industry colleagues.

Safety will be of utmost importance with a full vaccination or negative Covid-19 test required to access Loeries Creative Week. Tickets are limited and on sale at Modern Marketing is a proud media partner of The Loeries.

Loeries Creative Hour Live

Loeries Creative Hour Live are Masterclasses aimed at the Student and Young Creative communities. Three exciting morning sessions will bring attendees the best thinking in creative excellence from across Africa and the Middle East. Sessions will be held at the Red&Yellow Creative School of Business School from Wednesday to Friday. Limited spots are available. Topics to be announced.

Loerie Awards Cinematic Experience: Part 1 and Part 2

This year, the Loerie awards will be an incredible digitally-mastered cinematic experience like no Loeries before. Immerse yourself in Africa and the Middle East’s best creative work in Ster-Kinekor theatres at Cavendish, Tygervalley, Rosebank (Johannesburg), Sandton and Gateway. Unleash your creativity by dressing as your favourite movie character.

Awards Part 1 will be on Wednesday 20 October from 13:30. Category winners to be announced on Wednesday include: Out of Home; Crafts, Print Communication; Crafts, Young Creatives, Shared Value, Service Design, Design; Crafts, Digital Communication; Crafts, Marketing Leadership and Innovation and Film.

Awards Part 2 will be on Thursday 21 October from 13h30. Category winners to be announced on Thursday include: Film Crafts, Student, Effective Creativity, Media Innovation, PR and Media Communication, Live Communication, Radio and Audio (+SA Non-English Radio), Radio Crafts, Integrated Campaign, Hall of Fame, Regional Agency, Agency of the Year and Brand of the Year.

The choice is up to you whether you purchase a single ticket or the entire theatre for your group. All tickets come with popcorn, a coldrink and chocolate for the perfect cinema experience. Ster Kinekor tickets must be purchased Friday 8 October.
If you want to book an entire cinema, email

Loeries Out Loud! Comedy Night

The Loeries Grand Prix Beach (aka The Grand Africa Beach and Café) will host the first-ever Loeries Out Loud! Comedy Night as renowned comedian Kevin Fraser takes the stage on Thursday, 21 October. Tickets are R750 (incl. VAT) per person for the show and dinner (Complimentary for Loeries 2021 Judges). Tickets are limited to a maximum of 10 per agency. Doors open at 17:00 with dinner from 18:00. Cash bar available. Dress with Cape Town as your inspiration.

The Loerie Awards Ceremony

The red carpet will be rolled-out for the best creative minds in the industry as they receive their Gold and Silver trophies for 2021 Loerie Award winning-work. Enjoy canapés and a drink with the industry as we celebrate and honour those who are making an impact on creative excellence in the region. Tickets are limited to 20 per agency and available here for R1400 (excl VAT). Dress for the red carpet.

Secret Sunrise

Join in a session of dance and iconic views. Be prepared to embrace even more creativity after the past few days of inspiration. Come in your best Zoom outfit and stand a chance of winning a prize. Tickets available at R350 (incl VAT) per person.

Agency and Brand Activities

Own your Loeries Creative Week experience by using the V&A Waterfront as your hub during the week. Gather your employees, partners and stakeholders and celebrate your win by pre-booking at any of the participating bars or restaurants from Wednesday, 20 October to Friday, 22 October. For participating restaurants click here.


What Is The Next Step For Customer Experience?

What Can The Next Step For Customer Experience Be?
Hyther Nizam, President - MEA, Zoho Corp.

According to Hyther Nizam, President – MEA, Zoho Corp, over the past decade, customer relationship management (CRM) solutions have transformed from being mere systems of sales records/activities to systems of intelligence that bring together useful information and tools from various places, helping organisations be more effective at what they do.

What was earlier meant to be software only for sales teams has now evolved into a contextual solution in which all customer-facing teams (sales, service and marketing) hold a critical stake.

CRM is a massive industry. In fact, it’s the biggest software market in the world that continues to see steady growth. The global market is set to be worth US$94.4-billion by 2027, up from the approximately US$43-billion it’s worth today. That’s hardly surprising, given the major role customer experience (CX) plays as a business differentiator and the importance of customer communication in providing the best possible experience.

The next step for CX software is to become ‘systems of experiences’. A system of experiences differs from existing systems in the following ways:

Based on experience, beyond actions and engagement

Typically, CRM (like most contemporary business systems) is organised functionally and optimised for measurable goals like getting more calls, closing more deals, receiving better customer satisfaction ratings or net promoter scores. While the numbers matter, the qualitative aspects are equally important, like whether customers are being successful, whether they are feeling positive about their experiences and whether they will come back or bring their friends. These are emotions associated directly with their overall experiences with the brand.

A system of experiences must transcend internal functions to ensure a customer’s experience is smooth throughout their lifecycle with the brand. The system must be thought through backwards from the end-customer experience rather than defining goals and then trying to design a matching CX strategy.

It blends organisational functions

When a customer looks at a promotional message, goes to your online store and has a question, they will likely chat with someone from your organisation. The customer has essentially come into contact with three functions here, but they do not know that, nor do they need to know. In this case, the service agent must be able to automatically pull up information like where the customer came from, how they got there, and what their history of experiences has been with the brand.

They must also be able to look up retail availability of a stock-keeping unit or even add a retail associate to that chat. Regardless of functional alignments internally, everyone needs to come together to make the customer successful. The software must make this possible by making the employee experience cross-functional and friction-free.

It prioritises all stakeholders

Every CX platform has a strong focus on the customer. However, not all customers are external to the organisation. In a cross-functional setting, team interdependence is a given. Many functions are also dependent on the ecosystem around the organisation — vendors, distribution network, gig/temporary staff. But they can’t all use the same interface nor does everyone need the exact same set of features within the CX platform.

The trouble is, while a lot of CRM solutions already offer an abundance of personalisation for customer experiences, the same is not true for employee experiences. As a result, everyone’s using the same system and paying the productivity tax for no reason.

When so many stakeholders contribute in their own ways to the end-customer’s experience, the software platform that powers everything must make each person more productive through personalisation and also add a multiplier effect by making contextual, timely collaboration possible. Imagine a reality where the system is tailor-made for each employee’s role. That is true all-around personalisation.

It’s flexible enough for your present, future, and beyond

In today’s environment, the experience your customer expects to have from your business might have been inspired from another industry entirely. Social media, for example, has forced enterprise software to become simpler and more user-friendly, and e-commerce sites have changed the face of B2B procurement. Your CRM system should, therefore, be able to meet any changes within your organisation’s system and to wider industry and technology trends. There is no overstating the value of being flexible, especially in a business environment where everything can change in a moment.

If you examine your current system through these lenses, you will be able to see how well your primary CX enablers (people, processes, technology, context) are aligned to form a ‘system of experiences’ for the end-users. The shift to an experience economy, however, it is not a one-off job that simply modernises your CX systems with a quick upgrade. It is rather a thoughtful transition that happens over the years when an organisation continually strives to deliver a consistently delightful experience, be it reactive, proactive or predictive.


Digital Experience Platforms And What They Imply For Africa

Digital Experience Platforms And What They Imply For Africa
Ndagi Job Goshi, GM Liferay Africa.

According to Ndagi Job Goshi, GM Liferay Africa, thanks to the ubiquity of consumer technology, nearly all customer experiences are – at least to some degree – digital. So, in order to stay competitive, organisations need to provide the best possible digital experiences.

Around the globe, companies have come to realise that the things most likely to set them apart from their competitors aren’t product or price, but the experiences they provide to customers.

Of course, achieving the kind of digital transformation required for these experiences can be extremely challenging, particularly when organisations attempt to achieve this level of transformation without assistance. Utilised correctly, a digital experience platform (DXP) can greatly simplify providing these experiences, particularly within the African context.

What is a DXP?

In order to understand why a DXP can be so useful, it’s worth taking a closer look at what it is and what it’s supposed to do. Put simply, a DXP is a digital integration platform, designed to simplify the digital transformation process for organisations and improve the overall customer experience. The platform allows businesses to digitise business operations, deliver a consistent customer experience across all channels and gather insights on customers.

Ultimately, the goal of a DXP is to help companies provide the best possible digital experience to its customers, employees, partners and other stakeholders. It does this by simplifying the integration of digital tools, enhancing self-service capabilities and improving collaboration and knowledge sharing.

This is doubly so when you factor in how social media can be used to influence the public’s perception of a company. Additionally, the data insights provided by a DXP make it easier to ensure that a company’s customers get the right message, at the right time, through the right channel. These insights not only ensure that customers are more likely to make a purchase, but also that they’ll remain loyal to the company and advocate for it among their peers.

African potential

McKinsey estimates that digital transformation and a focus on customer experience can generate a 20-30% increase in customer satisfaction and economic gains of 20-50%. Unfortunately, however, many African organisations have yet to realise the full benefits of digital transformation.

In fact, a report from BCG shows considerable lag between the continent and the rest of the world. Companies across Africa have an average digital maturity score on BCG’s index of 29 (out of a possible 100), compared with 55 for Asia, 51 for Europe and 49 for the Americas combined.

While there is obviously a great deal of variability between, and within countries (the highest-scoring companies on the continent show digital transformation levels on par with leading companies in other parts of the world), the overall picture is one of major room for improvement.

Among the factors cited for such low levels of digital transformation are low internet penetration and a lack of digital skills at the macro level. Within organisations, management’s inability to narrow digital priorities and employee cultural resistance are also major factors.

While the overall situation may seem bleak, it also illustrates how big the opportunity is for organisations which do embrace digital transformation. Because there’s so much room for growth, the dividends of digital transformation are much higher in Africa than in other regions.

It’s also worth noting that the continent’s already high mobile penetration rates (smartphone penetration has surpassed 90% in South Africa) are converging with increasing levels of connectivity. This means the demand for great digital experiences will only grow among African consumers. The companies that can provide them with these experiences now, particularly on mobile, will be well-positioned to succeed going forward.

Simplifying digital transformation

Of course, digital transformation is an ongoing process that must involve the entire company and not just siloed departments. The perception that this is a complex endeavour may be behind some of the management and employee push back. It doesn’t have to be.

Utilising a DXP from a provider with an established track record can make digital transformation a great deal simpler. This, in turn, allows companies to more quickly and fully realise the benefits of digital transformation. And in Africa in particular, that early-mover advantage could prove vital.


Joe Public United Acquires KZN-Based Integrated Creative Agency

Joe Public United Acquires KZN-Based Integrated Creative Agency

The newly named entity, Joe Public United Durban, remains under the long-standing, highly experienced leadership team of Managing Director Clive McMurray and Integrated Executive Creative Director Brandon Govender. They will both retain equity in the agency. Through this transaction, Joe Public United Durban now becomes a majority black-owned agency.

This deal sees Joe Public United grow its footprint and offering into the second-largest provincial contributor to the economy in South Africa. Joe Public United now has offices in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.

Joe Public United South Africa is looking forward to bolstering the Durban office’s existing offering with expertise in brand design, digital, data and analytics, media and PR as well as adding additional support in the areas of strategy and creative. The focus will be on growing existing clients and extending Joe Public United’s offering to new brands within KwaZulu-Natal and beyond.

‘For us to partner with South Africa’s number one agency group is a victory for creativity. Not just for us, but the province. For years we’ve been spearheading creativity in KwaZulu-Natal. Now being part of the Joe Public United family will allow us to take this to the next level and exponentially grow our people and our clients,’ said Govender.

‘We believe this collaboration serves as an incredible opportunity to further build on our growth purpose and we are fully committed to supporting the team in Durban in every way we can to ensure the agency can deliver the highest levels of creative and service excellence to grow their clients,’ said Marais.

‘The newly acquired Joe Public United Durban is currently ranked as the number one creative agency in KwaZulu-Natal. And in this regard, we are very excited to be partnering with a team that is not only aligned to our growth purpose and values, but one that will also be able to bring such strong creative capabilities to deliver more value to our clients,’ said Gareth Leck, Group CEO, Joe Public United.


Digital Signage Makes Advertising Easier

Digital Signage Makes Advertising Easier

Grant Kruger, Business Lead ID/IT at LG Electronics South Africa, says digital displays are not only reserved for retail stores. Restaurant owners, corporate offices and even shopping mall entrances are embracing the trend. It has become an immensely popular way to advertise in public – but what are the business benefits of digital signage, apart from the obvious?

Digital signage is not a new phenomenon. After the online advertising boom following the Covid-19 outbreak, people are now returning to physical stores. And because consumers are so used to having flashing adverts follow them around the web as they continue to browse, it has sparked a whole new era of visual advertising.

But as you can guess, it can be tricky to target consumers’ attention when most storefronts only show physical promotions and posters. Why? Because everyone else is doing the same thing. This is where digital signage becomes so powerful – not only as a means to promote your products or services, but also to stand out from a sea of sameness.

Compared to other forms of advertising, digital signage empowers businesses to display more: more video, more product and service offerings, and more chances of capturing a customer’s attention. Because this method of advertising isn’t static, the possibilities are virtually endless. Do you have an online sale coming up? Or perhaps you have a sponsored event you’d like to promote? Pop it on an eye-catching digital display and wait for the interest to stream in.

While the idea of investing in digital advertising and its associated costs could deter you from jumping on the bandwagon, it gives you much more flexibility when new promotions or sales come around. Imagine having to print promotional material for every occasion and the time-consuming labour of putting it up or handing it to customers. Not to mention the dilemma if the printers somehow misspelt your business name.

On the other hand, with digital signage, it’s as easy as swapping out the deals and details and replacing them on a whim using your smartphone, tablet or PC. Technology is making all facets of advertising so much easier.

More foot traffic means that your staff will probably be busier than ever. Instead of having your customers leave unattended and annoyed, a digital display could offer some level of entertainment while they wait to be served. Think of digital signage as an extra team of salespeople who are hard-selling your products without you having to lift a finger. And the best part? You are in complete control of what is displayed, so if you want to push a sale or make an important announcement to your customers, you have the power to do it.

Did you know that digital signage can actually make you money? Because you get to decide what and when you advertise, you can use third-party adverts to fill up your digital displays. Your business’s quiet periods are the ideal time to approach other business owners to advertise in your store or office. It’s a win-win for both parties. Plus, you’ll build and nurture valuable business relationships that can bring in even more rewards in the long run.

Speaking of creating connections, digital signage also enables you to connect better with your customers by responding to their needs. Some innovative displays take this concept further by combining ambient temperatures with the time of day. These displays can serve customers ads for sunhats during the heat of the day or happy-hour specials at night. The potential to create personal relationships and tap into a whole new market segment is as easy as predicting what your customers want next.

Digital signage is now bigger, brighter and more innovative than ever. Modern customers want personalised service, tailored offerings, and something new to excite them – digital signage is a great way to meet these needs in an intriguing way.


Four Key Areas For Disruptive Growth In Retail

Four Key Areas For Disruptive Growth In Retail
Des Jones, Chief Strategy Officer, TBWA\South Africa.

While an ever-expanding network of shopping platforms – driven by the need for remote shopping during the pandemic – has complicated consumer-brand relationships, innovation will be the name of the game. This is according to a recently released Future of Retail report by Backslash, the cultural intelligence unit of TBWA\SA, which explores the most urgent questions facing retail businesses as they prepare for the future.

As increased vaccinations and less restrictive lockdown measures provide a glimmer of hope, retail stores will need to serve a purpose beyond shopping as the demand for digital goods and virtual experiences takes place in tandem with in-real-life experiences.

Although Covid-19 accelerated the e-commerce explosion, with Nasdaq predicting that 95% of purchases will be made via e-commerce by 2040, a complete eradication of in-real-life retail may not be the answer either. Growth of e-commerce in Africa at 19.8% in 2020 also lags behind the rest of the world, which is growing at 27.6%, according to the Visual Capitalist.

GDP growth in South Africa, however, is already showing a marked improvement from 2020 levels – growing year-on-year for the first time in five quarters to reach 19.3% in the second quarter of 2021. It would appear that the time to benefit from this growth economy is now.

To do this, Des Jones, Chief Strategy Officer TBWA\South Africa, said businesses will need to consciously build experiences that take the best that technology has to offer and blend it with the best real life brings.

‘What our research shows is that businesses going online can capture sales, but they can also lose the connections and experiences that drive customer loyalty. Brands that do not listen to their customers flirt with being cancelled, while those that engage their consumers in helping them develop products and services will find real competitive advantages.’

The report shows that intuitive, intelligent and sensorial shopping experiences will attract the interest of discerning shoppers. This will see new spaces open up for brands to engage and serve their consumers in their local environments.

Jones said, ‘New concepts can see stores meet a vital need in South Africa by addressing urban renewal. Retail spaces can incorporate new experiences, bring the sights and sounds of nature back into the city and act as much-needed community centres. Through this they won’t just maintain their relevance but entice shoppers back to areas that no one ever thought would attract large volumes of people again.’

What is clear, however, is that brands looking to find a premium in this market will need to work harder for it. ‘We are entering a world of lower consumption, with people more concerned about what a product says to them about themselves than what it tells the rest of the world,’ said Jones.

Among other findings, the report revealed that ‘phantom’ or invisible technology can be expected to empower a seamless shopping experience rather than being an addition to the shopping process. The retail sector could also see major brand coalitions and smarter supply chain approaches decreasing excess inventory and creating more transparency.

‘Four key areas for disruptive growth are showing themselves in retail. It is important that brands take action and address the lifecycle of retail, adoption of new technology and the traditional buyer-to-seller relationship,’ said Jones.

The four areas for disruption are:

1. Flex retail: a new era of retail requires physical spaces that serve a purpose beyond shopping. The stores of the future will revitalise cities, uplift local communities and promote circularity.

2. Retail’s tech tightrope: next-gen retail technology will work behind the scenes to enable a seamless shopping experience. Companies can choose a more meaningful way forward through phantom tech, intelligent ordering and sensory stores.

3. Networked commerce: to survive increasingly communal commerce, brands will need to make everyone in their network an active player. Tomorrow’s retailers will strengthen relationships by engaging in direct dialogue – pivoting from influencers to educators.

4. Lifecycle luxury: a richer kind of luxury will put product life cycles in centre focus. Looking forward, upscale eco-materials, authenticity trackers and more functionality will be part of a new consumer definition of premium.

‘A new chapter of retail is upon us and retailers in South Africa have an opportunity to carve out a better way forward. Combining the ease of digital engagement with consumers who really care about the goods they consume will give brands a huge source of insight, innovation, and advantage. This isn’t a shift, it is a reset,’ concluded Jones.

The Future of Retail report was born from months of in-depth qualitative and quantitative research, strategic ideation and collaboration among 300 Cultural Spotters across the TBWA collective.


Cultural Life In South Africa Celebrated Through Spotify’s Custom Ad Campaign

Cultural Life In South Africa Celebrated Through Spotify Custom Ad Campaign

The Spotify Premium and TBWA\SA-produced short film ‘Unleash’ is youthful, authentic, gritty and real. A tribute to Mzansi’s style, culture and the places, ‘Unleash’ is Spotify’s most locally-relevant custom ad campaign in South Africa.

Celebrated international director and photographer, Fausto Becatti’s, short film traces the development of the vibes, beats and street styles of Mzansi, weaving an intricate web of movement, sound and mood. Home to arguably the most vibrant, innovative, textured and exciting dance and music scenes in the world – enriched by 11 official languages and a fusion of cultural influences – South Africa has initiated and participated in wave after wave of extraordinary dance styles and trends, from gqom to kwaito, patsula to gwara-gwara, and amapiano to bhenga.

Produced by Bioscope Films, ‘Unleash’ is a love letter to this diversity – to the movement, the music and the soul of South Africa. South Africa also has a unique energy and this needed to be communicated. The interpretation was two-fold. First through Becatti’s shooting techniques and visual direction, which saw the piece shot on film to capture the gritty textures of Jozi’s most-recognised landmarks. And then, through the confident and effortless physicality of dancer Chelsea Samuels.

Samuels breaks, pops, locks and freestyles in a variety of settings, from a tyre dump, to a stairwell; Soweto’s iconic Eyethu cinema and an abandoned fuel station; the Jozi skyline and a cellphone store with a cacophony of ringtones that morph into song – because music is truly everywhere.

Becatti’s striking visuals are coupled with a driving custom track by Pressure Cooker Studios’ Keith Kavayi and powerful voice overlays by beat poet Koleka Putuma, who traces the evolution of music through juxtapositions of contrasting and harmonious styles, from house, to hip hop, maskandi, amapiano, rock and gospel.

Creative lead on the project and executive creative director at TBWA\SA, Kabelo Moshapalo, said, ‘Critically, the audience had to see themselves in the film. It needed to resonate with how we talk to the music and how the music moves them. At TBWA\SA we live culture; we breathe it, we seek it out, and then we weave our clients into it.’

Armed with these deep insights into culture and youth, and with a client that dominates the music space, TBWA\SA was able to locate Spotify Premium in South African culture in a way that truly encapsulates the brand’s rich customer experience that tailors and enriches musical tastes and appreciation.

Moshapalo said, ‘We had to strike a chord in being relevant culturally in the South African context, which isn’t easy because of our diverse musical tastes, which is both quite global and hyper-local in terms of some of the genres and the specific charts.’

Moshapalo explained that the beat poet, Putuma, actually tells the story of the South African music experience and how it’s layered and diverse, a melting pot, expressive and unique. ‘Then we created a track that essentially would be the backdrop for the choreography seen in the video where our dancer, Samuels, is moving to the word and moving to the rhythm, with a mix of unique dance styles and movements that are, again, authentically South African.’

The construction of the beat had to be sonically unique and multi-layered, to echo the sentiment in the poem, of diversity, inclusivity and in the liberation of music for the people, and the music needed to be in-sync, in tune and enjoyable, he said, noting that Pressure Cooker, ‘did a remarkable job in crafting it that way’.


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